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Escape To Victory: Premier League Previews

With the table starting to take shape at this point, several sides are still in need of their first wins. In our third Premier League Preview, we take a look at the slow starters.

by Will Magee
26 August 2016, 1:02pm

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When it comes to those feverish first few weeks of the Premier League season, there's nothing better than getting some early wins on the board. For those teams flying high at the top of the table, anything is possible, and the future seems filled with infinite joy. Things are going swimmingly for fans of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and, err, Hull, all of whom have taken six points from their first two games. Their supporters can dream big, indulge their most sublime footballing fantasies and allow their souls to soar, free from the terrible shackles of an opening day loss to West Bromwich Albion.

The same cannot be said for everyone, unfortunately. Indeed, for the eight teams currently at the bottom of the table, the sensation of winning a football match feels more unfamiliar than ever before.

With Crystal Palace playing Bournemouth on Saturday and Southampton playing Sunderland, at least one of the winless sides should get a three-point haul this weekend. The longer they leave it, however, the greater the psychological stumbling block. It's a timeworn pattern for a team to go eight or nine games without a win at the start of the season, before struggling their way towards relegation or, for the lucky ones, a nail-biting 17th-placed finish. We've seen it happen to QPR, Burnley, Aston Villa, Newcastle and Sunderland over the last few seasons, with only the latter managing to survive come May.

Of all the setbacks a team can face in the Premier League, an early season barren run is probably the most damaging. Leicester, Stoke and Watford are all still waiting for a first win, too. Oh, and don't forget plucky underdogs Arsenal.